With the news last week that FIFA have announced a new approach to their sponsorship strategy for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, I wanted to understand the implications of the change and interpret whether the move was not one to simply increase FIFA’s commercial revenues.

Certainly in the world of football, Manchester United have set the standard in recent years with their approach to sponsorship, where they have a portfolio made up of numerous partners in different territories throughout the world, bringing in over £100m worth of revenue a year. The World Cup has also had a strong history of partnerships boasting the likes of Coca Cola, Castrol and Visa as sponsors, which initially led me to question why change an already successful strategy and risk a potential saturation in the value of partnership rights?

I feel in FIFA’s case however, the new concept of offering regional rights packages as well as national, will be a great improvement for both the rights holder and prospective brands. FIFA will not only look to increase their commercial income, but also offer a new platform for brands to engage with their consumers via regional specific activation programmes.

Where previously the intangible benefits of associating yourself with one of, if not, the biggest rights holders in the world may have heavily outweighed the tangible at the 3rd tier partner level. The new strategy has rejuvenated the 3rd tier of FIFA’s partnership structure, appealing to a wider range of brands, which may have previously not deemed the rights available enough to justify their spend.

Only time will tell, but I believe this new approach will have brands scrambling for the opportunity to become a partner to the FIFA World Cup.

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